On Saturday, I waited in line for 1-1/2 hours to get the autograph of John Densmore, former drummer of the late 1960s rock band The Doors. I liked their music when it first came out (I have all their albums) and to this day I still like it.
For me, of all The Doors, John Densmore was the least important, but I wanted to see him anyway; there are only 2 Doors left. Densmore, now in his early 70s, was remarkably well preserved, with his flowing mane of white hair. Unlike Godot, he showed up and showed up on time. Before I got to talk to him, he took only one 5-minute break. He playd the gracious host.
The line in front of me was longer than I had expected. Ironically, most of those standing in line were less than half Densmore’s age. They were born long after the death of Jim Morrison (The Doors infamous lead singer). But there were a few of us old-timers there, including the couples in front and behind me.
According to David Burger, writing for sltrib.com (28 Jul 2013):
When Doors drummer John Densmore gets offers to sell the legendary band’s music for commercial purposes, he asks himself one simple question: What would Jim Morrison do?
The lead singer, who died in 1971, was adamant that the band’s music never be used for unseemly reasons.
I understand the difficult musical situation,” Densmore said in a recent telephone interview. “I get that. It’s hard out there . . . But money is like fertilizer. When hoarded, it stinks.
In order to get Densmore’s signature, I had to buy a copy of his most recent book title: The Doors: Unhinged. So in reality, I had to pay for his signature (and a photograph). I wondered how Morrison would have approved of this behavior? Wasn’t Densmore selling out? Is this really what Jim would have done? Who knows?
While waiting in line, I talked to some of the other people in line. The guy in front was a 55-year-old photographer and realtor. He had his wife and boy with him. His son was 13 and very precocious, but a nice kid. We had brief discussions about old rock bands.
The gentlemen behind me was 60 and said he had gone to see The Doors in concert in Las Vegas. The band had showed up 2 hours late and Morrison had trouble remembering the words to the songs; he was probably drunk.
All-in-all, the wait to see Densmore wasn’t half bad. The signing event was held at the “Graywhale” (an independent record store) in Taylorsville, UT. The line snaked through the store. When one of young store employees was nearby, I asked him if older fans (those who were actually old enough to remember The Doors) shouldn’t have been given preferential treatment? He made some snarky remark that I don’t remember.
When I finally got to the front, I asked the “leg breaker” if I could ask a question or two? He told me to keep it short. I asked John about The Doors’ notorious Florida performance (Jim allegedly did something inappropriate on stage). Densmore replied that it was all blown out of proportion and not that big of a deal.
When the guy behind me mentioned the trouble at the The Doors’ Las Vegas performance, Densmore simply replied, “Sorry.”
Doing these events must get tiring.